Columnist interviews police chief

Published 12:12 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Man in charge: Thorsby Chief of Police Rodney Barnett can be reached at 646-3555, or email him at

By Tracia Bussey | Community Columnist

Thorsby’s Chief of Police, Rodney Barnett, agreed to have an interview with me in order to help everyone get to know him better. I found Chief Barnett to be easy to talk to and extremely passionate about his role as a leader.

He grew up in Thorsby, attended Thorsby School and worked for 18 years at Thorsby’s Tommie Corporation before becoming a police officer. Barnett had been with the Thorsby Police for five years when the position for chief came open. He was not expecting to have this kind of opportunity so quickly, but after much prayer and talking it over with his wife, Angie, he decided to apply for the position.

“I believed I could do more for the citizens of Thorsby in that role,” Barnett said. “What has it been like as the chief?” I asked. Barnett said, “It’s been a good experience. The mayor, council and town employees are a good group of people to work with. They’re all Christian people who care about our town. Of course, every job has its days, but overall it’s been a rewarding experience.”

“What are some things you feel have improved since you’ve been the chief of police in Thorsby?” I asked. Barnett said, “We’ve obtained several grants to fund improvements in the police department. One of those granted projects was providing video cameras for each police car. Our police department has made advancement in the use of computers as well. We have grown the department with five full-time officers, 10-11 part-time and four reserve officers. I’m also very proud of our SKIP (Safeguarding Kids Is Priority) Program. Thorsby School is the only school in the county with this program. The elementary teachers teach the curriculum (Stranger Danger, etc.) and our police department hosts an event in the park with the children where we interact with them, showing them examples of what to do if they’re approached by someone who is a threat. There have been several times that teachers or children have reported suspicious activity, which has led to the apprehension of sex offenders. The information they have learned through the SKIP Program has been instrumental in these cases. I’m also proud of our Child Protect Program and the yearly financial support our town donates to it. We feel very serious about safeguarding our children.”

“What do you hope to see happen in Thorsby in the future?” I asked. Barnett said, “I hope to see Thorsby continue to grow. We’ve already seen new businesses come to town, and amazingly, our town’s income has improved even though we’ve been in a tough economic climate. I want to see Thorsby have a reputable name, well thought of and well respected. I hope to see our crime rate continue to be very low, as it is now. I want to see Thorsby continue to be a safe place to live, work and play, and I hope to continue serving my town as chief of police. Thorsby is where my heart is, and my daily prayer is that God will direct me to do my best.”

–Bussey is The Clanton Advertiser’s community columnist for Thorsby. She can be reached at